As part of the ‘Bold New Works for Intimate Stages’ project, co-directors and writers Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory have gifted the theatre world with “Kaleidoscope,” a new musical that tackles the painful reality of Alzheimer’s disease with sensitivity, humor, and song.
Take time to see this new musical.
When the curtain opens, aging Broadway star, Evelyn Thorne (Florence Lacey) has launched her one-woman show, a promising return to the stage that sees her powerful presence and larger-than-life personality slowly fade with each stop on the tour. Dropped lines, forgotten entrances, and behind-the-scenes turmoil alert Ms. Thorne’s Director, Olivia (Susan Derry) and Stage Manager, Monica (Catherine Purcell) to the inevitable changes taking place. But the show must go on, and they too must come to accept the legendary star’s decline, each in their own way, and in their own time.
Real-life Broadway star, Florence Lacey commands the space from the moment she steps onstage to the final curtain. With a powerful soprano voice and a sensitive rendering of the character’s struggles, Lacey takes the audience on an extraordinary journey of hope and remembrance.
Susan Derry brings the driven and officious character of Olivia to life, serving as a sharp and thought-provoking contrast to the down-to-earth practicality of Monica, as portrayed by Catherine Purcell. Each of the women delivers strong performances and beautifully sung musical numbers with voices that complement each other and the score. The cast’s youngest member, Sophia Manicone, excels in the role of a youthful Ms. Thorne, embodying the boundless confidence and passion for performing expected of a child star.
Although largely hidden from view, musicians Jenny Cartney (piano), Jeff Thurston (violin), and Scott Van Domelen (reeds), under the direction of Warren Freeman, form an ensemble that is ideal for the intimate space and emotional storyline, immediately evident in the sweet yet mournful strains of the violin that open the show.
While simple, the set is rich in symbolism compliments of the award-winning creative team of Margie Jervis (scenic design), Alison Samantha Johnson (costume design), and Lynn Joslin (lighting design). Of particular note are the flowers that fill the stage, beautiful yet transient, echoing the ephemeral nature of human life, and serving to immerse the audience in a meditation on time, memory, and long goodbyes.
While “Kaleidoscope” will certainly speak to people touched by Alzheimer’s, no one is exempt from the changes wrought by time, the fear felt at the prospect of an uncertain future, or the need to face it all with courage and humor. Take time to see this new musical. You owe it to yourself to make”‘Kaleidoscope” a part of your journey.
Running Time: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. No intermission.
“Kaleidoscope” runs through May 28 at Creative Cauldron, 410 S Maple Ave, Suite 116 Falls Church, VA 22046. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.